Craigdarroch was built between 1887-1890 for Robert Dunsmuir, a Scottish immigrant who made his fortune from Vancouver Island coal. This legendary Victorian mansion, built on a hill overlooking the City of Victoria (Craigdarroch means "rocky, oak place" in Gaelic) announced to the world that Robert Dunsmuir was the richest and most important man in Western Canada.
He died in 1889 leaving his entire estate to his wife Joan who lived in the Castle until her death in 1908. The immense fortune of the Dunsmuir family is reflected in the four floors of exquisite stained glass windows, intricate woodwork and fabulous Victorian era furnishings.
Robert Dunsmuir was born in 1825 near Kilmarnock, Ayrshire into a family of coal masters, who rented mines from the land-owning aristocracy. In 1850, they decided on very short notice to take a three-year contract with the Hudson's Bay Company. In 1855, the Hbc and Governor James Douglas granted Robert Dunsmuir and one other man the right to prospect and mine coal independently. Ten years later, in 1869, Dunsmuir found a rich seam of coal near Nanaimo. It was the richest coal seam to be discovered on Vancouver Island.
After extensive archeological work and careful study of the journal maintained by the original landscape architect, the Board of Directors of the Craigdarroch Castle Historical Museum Society took another step in the ongoing effort to conserve Craigdarroch Castle and bring its history to life. Completed in the spring of 2010, the grounds landscape project will add more to the story and to the length of a tour. It also provides those unable to climb the 87 stairs inside an opportunity to experience the Castle and its history from outside - something that was not easy to do before with the lack of paths. One of the highlights includes the reconstruction of the sandstone gates, located on the boulevard of Joan Crescent at Fort St. The placement of the gates provides visitors and residents with the experience of living on an estate the size of the Dunsmuir's.
I am pleased to manage the creation and maintenance of their web site and produce their brochures and DVD’s. It is a very cool spot.
Check out their web site here >
Craigdarroch Castle historic
house museum is a "must see"
on your visit to Victoria, B. C.
The wealthy Dunsmuir family
saga and the mansion they
built is a key piece of British
Designated as one of Canada's
National Historic Sites, this
Victorian Castle is a legendary